7.7/10
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Sawdust and Tinsel (1953)

Gycklarnas afton (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 9 April 1956 (USA)
While traveling in caravan through the country of Sweden, one member of the decadent Alberti Circus tells the owner and ringmaster Albert Johansson a sad story about the clown Frost: seven ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Åke Grönberg ...
Albert Johansson
...
Anne
Hasse Ekman ...
Frans
...
Frost
Gudrun Brost ...
Alma
Annika Tretow ...
Agda
Erik Strandmark ...
Jens
...
Mr. Sjuberg
Curt Löwgren ...
Blom
Kiki ...
The Dwarf
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Storyline

While traveling in caravan through the country of Sweden, one member of the decadent Alberti Circus tells the owner and ringmaster Albert Johansson a sad story about the clown Frost: seven years ago, his wife Alma was surprised by him bathing naked in a lake with a regiment. When the circus arrives in the town where Albert's wife Agda and sons live, he decides to pay a visit with his young mistress Anne to a famous local troupe to borrow some capes, hats and vests for their tonight show. They are humiliated by the director Mr. Sjuberg, but he lends the pieces, and the lead actor Frans gives an unsuccessful pass on Anne. When Albert decides to visit Agda, the jealous Anne meets Frans, who seduces her with an apparently valuable necklace, and they have a love affair. Anne finds that the necklace is actually worthless and returns to the circus. Meanwhile, Agda refuses to accept Albert back and he sees Anne leaving the theater and going to the jewelry. During the exhibition, Albert and ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

DESPERATELY they fought the desires, the passions that dragged them down deeper and deeper into... "The Naked Night" See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 April 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sawdust and Tinsel  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bergman's first collaboration with cinematographer Sven Nykvist. See more »

Quotes

Anne: I want to leave the circus. You're laughing at me.
Frans: I think you're beautiful. That's why I'm smiling.
Anne: You don't have to marry me. Just look after me.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ingmar Bergman on Life and Work (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An under-appreciated film
25 June 2007 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

It's amazing when a film is disliked and misunderstood when released, and is then praised and labelled as a masterpiece decades later. Ingmar Bergman's 'Sawdust and Tinsel' is one of those films. I'm not exactly sure why the film was regarded so lowly, but thankfully, it is now recognised for what it is.

The film isn't quite Bergman's best, but it is certainly close. 'Sawdust and Tinsel' is a pessimistic, yet truthful study of human nature in relationships. The film's central character, Albert, is a ringmaster of a travelling circus, and is passing through the town where his wife and children are living. The pair have been separated for some time and are clearly dealing with the situation in different ways. His wife Agda has moved on. Albert is still affected and has been unfaithful to his wife, as he is travelling along with his mistress. What unfolds is an interesting character study that looks at human insecurity, disloyalty, selfishness, unhappiness and emotional strain.

It's no wonder that Ingmar Bergman is titled 'The Swedish Master'. 'Sawdust and Tinsel' is full of insight and certainly shows Bergman's talent. He does some excellent things with mirrors in certain shots and creates a lot of mood throughout the film. The highlight is, without question, one of the first scenes in which Frost, the circus clown, comes to collect his wife Alma from the ocean, where she is swimming with an army regiment. Every element works and Alma's selfishness and Frost's pain are clear in the scene, adding to the effect. Practically everything that Bergman has done in this film is excellent. The only point of criticism though, is that the cinematography is a bit hit and miss, as some scenes are too bright, giving them an overexposed look. Then again, it could be that the film has just deteriorated with age.

This is an under-appreciated film that is certainly worth viewing. It is quite hard to come by, but maybe one day, someone will do a proper release on DVD.


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